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  • Twins 7, Royals 6: Down Six in the Eighth, Twins Comeback to Sweep Royals


    Theo Tollefson

    Bailey Ober made his return from the IL Sunday afternoon in Kansas City to finish up the Twins second road trip to their I-35 opponents. The Twins were kept scoreless until the top of the eighth inning where they began a five run comeback to bring them back into the game and scored two more in the ninth to take the lead.

     

     

    Image courtesy of Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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    The Twins entered their three-game series finale against the Royals on Sunday with a three-game winning streak they wanted to extend to four. Bailey Ober was on the mound for his first start since April 28 when he was pulled in the fourth inning with a groin injury. Ober pitched five quality innings in his return allowing only four base runners and one run in his five innings of work. 

    Royals starter Brady Singer kept the Twins to two hits and one walk to Gilberto Celestino through the Twins first two times through the lineup. The walk to Celestino began the Twins best scoring opportunity all afternoon. 

    Having only three total base runners through 5 1/3 innings, the Twins had their first opportunity to get runners into scoring position after Celestino’s walk and Luis Arraez’s second hit of the day. Following Arraez’s single, Polanco drew a full count that led to a walk and the Twins having the bases loaded for Max Kepler.

    Kepler drew an 0-1 count in his at-bat and connected for a swinging bunt close enough for Royals third baseman Emmanuel Rivera to get the force out at home and keep the Royals lead at 1-0. Gary Sanchez followed up Kepler’s fielder's choice with a fly out to left field that ended the Twins first big chance to score in the game. 

    Following a failed opportunity to score in the top half of the sixth, the Royals offense took off against Twins reliever Yennier Cano who surrendered five runs off of four hits and two walks and was yanked out of the game after recording only out as the Royals lead extended to 6-0. 

    Trevor Megill then came into the game for Cano to get the final two outs in the bottom of the sixth making his season and Twins debut. Megill allowed one base runner on a fielder's choice but got the Twins out of the jam on a strike out and flyout to Kepler in deep right field. 

    In the top of the seventh, the Twins again had an opportunity to score after a Nick Gordon triple that fell a few feet short of clearing the stands. Again, the Twins failed to get Gordon home on the triple and the game was still scoreless going into the top of the eighth. 

    The Twins bats finally woke up in the top of the eighth as they scored two runs off four straight hits from Celestino, Arraez, Polanco and Kepler. The bats did not stop there in the top of the eighth. Gary Sanchez drove in a run on a sacrifice fly that scored Polanco and after being hitless all game. Kyle Garlick hit a home run off of righty Scott Barlow to bring the Twins back into the game with the score 6-5.

    As Celestino began the second round of the lineup in the eighth, he was walked by Barlow to load the bases up for Arraez. Coming into the at-bat 3-4 for the day, Arraez was poised to make the Twins comeback complete. However, that didn’t end up being the case as some questionable strike calls caught Arraez looking to end the Twins eighth-inning run. 

    Even after a dismal strikeout to Arraez, the Twins came back again in the top of the ninth to threaten with runners on second and third and nobody out for Gary Sanchez. Sanchez worked the count to 2-2 and smacked another sacrifice fly to tie the game at six apiece. 

    Trevor Larnach was cold at the plate in his return from the IL and continued that in the top of the ninth. There was at least a wild pitch in his at-bat to advance Kepler to third. Garlick followed up with a walk putting runners on the corners with two outs for Gio Urshela’s first at-bat of the afternoon. 

    Urshela would only need the one at-bat to contribute for the Twins Sunday as he hit an RBI single that scored Max Kepler for the game-winning run.

    Jhoan Duran came in for Twins to close out the game in the ninth for his third save opportunity of his young career. Duran completed a one, two, three ninth to give the Twins the win and set their winning streak to four straight. 

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    What’s Next? 

    The Twins return home Monday night to start a seven game home stand and three game series against the cellar dwelling Detroit Tigers. Chris Archer will make the start for the Twins and the Tigers have yet to announce their own starter for Monday night.  

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    Once they were down 6 to nothing and wasted some scoring chances I stopped watching.  Came back to see how bad the loss was and had to make sure I was on the right web page.  Couldn't believe they came back and won.  Well my loss I guess for not hanging in there.  That is a really big win to take the sweep they really cannot afford to let up because the White Sox and Guardian's have been playing the East teams and their schedules will soften while ours toughens up.  Can't believe they won, just can't believe it but I am glad they came back and won it.

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    7 minutes ago, Dman said:

    Once they were down 6 to nothing and wasted some scoring chances I stopped watching.  Came back to see how bad the lose was and had to make sure I was on the right web page.  Couldn't believe they came back and won.  Well my loss I guess for not hanging in there.  That is a really big win to take the sweep they really cannot afford to let up because the White Sox and Indians have been playing the East teams and their schedules will soften while ours toughens up.  Can't believe they won, just can't believe it but I am glad they came back and won it.

    Gaining as much ground in the division in the next 2 weeks will be huge for when their schedule gets more difficult. They need every one of these wins right now. I'm actually been rooting for the Yankees to beat Chicago 🤣 and that goes against every fiber of my being. 

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    What a wonderful game.  I was one who wanted to see Cano come up - it is not looking good right now.  Who is next.

    Otherwise great game.  Arraez struck out on a called strike that was a ball.  For good batters like Luis the robot ump is perfect.  Nice comeback for Ober and what a relief to have a real closer who goes 1 - 2 - 3.  Thank you Duran.  

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    1 minute ago, mikelink45 said:

    What a wonderful game.  I was one who wanted to see Cano come up - it is not looking good right now.  Who is next.

    Otherwise great game.  Arraez struck out on a called strike that was a ball.  For good batters like Luis the robot ump is perfect.  Nice comeback for Ober and what a relief to have a real closer who goes 1 - 2 - 3.  Thank you Duran.  

    That one at-bat is really a justification for the robo umps.

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    15 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

    What a wonderful game.  I was one who wanted to see Cano come up - it is not looking good right now.  Who is next.

    Otherwise great game.  Arraez struck out on a called strike that was a ball.  For good batters like Luis the robot ump is perfect.  Nice comeback for Ober and what a relief to have a real closer who goes 1 - 2 - 3.  Thank you Duran.  

    For good batters the umpire does not matter they will kearn to work the system; for not so good batters the ump. can be a life saver.

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    20 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

    For good batters like Luis the robot ump is perfect. 

    Lots of batters may benefit from a more predictable zone.  Pitching is about disrupting timing, and uncertainty of any kind has to contribute to that, even if the pitcher is the victim half the time when the call is incorrect.

    I'm a big proponent of automating the ball-strike call, but I believe some sort of adjustment in another way may also be necessary to maintain game balance - maybe a slightly bigger strike zone, for instance, or a little more-deadened ball.

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    That's a hell of a comeback to sweep the Royals. When Cano was imploding, I was convinced it just wasn't happening (the double plays were driving me batty) and that the team was maybe a bit flat on a getaway day. But good teams dig this stuff out, and the Twins are looking more and more like a good team.

    Ober looked good. Glad to have him back and throwing well.

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    35 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

    That's a hell of a comeback to sweep the Royals. When Cano was imploding, I was convinced it just wasn't happening (the double plays were driving me batty) and that the team was maybe a bit flat on a getaway day. But good teams dig this stuff out, and the Twins are looking more and more like a good team.

    Ober looked good. Glad to have him back and throwing well.

    Like so many other posts I have to question the decision to leave Cano in so long.  When a pitcher does not have his stuff - take him out. 

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    I've said this before: there are no "low leverage" relievers in a modern pen. You're using 3, 4 maybe 5 relievers every night. Most professional baseball games are close, it's just the nature of the game. EVERYone in the pen is going to be in a position to win or lose games, and not just as an oddity. A manager can't just use 3 or 4 guys for 4 innings every close game. 

    I'm not a Rocco apologist, by any means, but he needs an inning of performance, minimum, when he puts a guy into a game in the middle innings, no matter the guy. And He doesn't have the luxury of having another guy already warmed and ready when a Cano starts an inning. Cano needs to perform.

    The problem really is not Rocco leaving Cano in too long. The problem is not providing Rocco with enough good options. Blame Cano. Or Falvine.

     

     

     

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    2 hours ago, RpR said:

    For good batters the umpire does not matter they will kearn to work the system; for not so good batters the ump. can be a life saver.

    When umpires suddenly change their strike zone....you don't have time to learn it.  Arraez was forced to foul off a bunch of pitches out of the zone because the umpire was calling a weird zone all of a sudden.

    Arraez literally did not see a strike in that entire at-bat.

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    29 minutes ago, TheLeviathan said:

    When umpires suddenly change their strike zone....you don't have time to learn it.  Arraez was forced to foul off a bunch of pitches out of the zone because the umpire was calling a weird zone all of a sudden.

    Arraez literally did not see a strike in that entire at-bat.

    Rec this. He did not get one strike. Ump called the first two pitches strikes that were balls. Then the needed fouls of out of the zone pitches. Then the punch out on a pitch that wasn’t even close. Yikes, he got screwed in that AB

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    Weird seeing Rocco making two PH moves neutral to or against the platoon advantage. The first one made total sense bringing in one of your best rh hitters for another rh hitting rookie who has struggled. Managing 101.

    Bringing in Urshela for Gordon raised my eyebrows a bit though. Not that I think Gordon is a great hitter, but he actually has a better batting average than Urshela and would have had the platoon advantage. Not really a weird move to see most managers make to bring in the more veteran guy, but kind of against type for Rocco.

    Anyway, whatever the reason, great to see him come through. Great to see the Twins comeback big. I don't remember the last time they came back by that much that late in the game.

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    3 hours ago, Dman said:

    Once they were down 6 to nothing and wasted some scoring chances I stopped watching.  Came back to see how bad the loss was and had to make sure I was on the right web page.  Couldn't believe they came back and won.  Well my loss I guess for not hanging in there.  That is a really big win to take the sweep they really cannot afford to let up because the White Sox and Guardian's have been playing the East teams and their schedules will soften while ours toughens up.  Can't believe they won, just can't believe it but I am glad they came back and won it.

    Dman:  Got to give you credit for hanging in down 6-0 as I bailed in the midst of Cano's meltdown (he needs to be demoted) as I had a late afternoon tee time.  Like you, I was beyond shocked when my wife informed me of Twins miraculous comeback win.  Other than a 2 game sweep  (not sure that really counts) in April 2019, playing in KC has proved to be a difficult place to win.  Not counting this 3-game sweep-------in the 8 series' in KC from 2019-2021 and the 1st series this season, the Twins split two 4 game series, lost 3 and won 3.

    Without the bats of Correa and Buxton today (I guess I'll just have to get used to that moving forward), this comeback is even more impressive.  Although KC's bullpen has been mediocre this season, the ability to string quality ABs together shows a degree of resiliency that's been severely lacking from this collection of hitters for a long period of time.  

    It appeared from looking at Duran's 9th inning performance---17 pitches with 14 being strikes---he was dominant.  Was that the case?  Just wondering as I'm hoping Johnson and Baldelli are approaching the decision to go to Duran instead of Pagan.

    Hopefully this team will not take for granted playing DET and KC over the next 12 games.  Sure would be a good time for the following to happen:

    1.  Buxton gets his bat recalibrated.   

    2.  Until Kiriloff proves he's healthy at productive at SP, I hope Rocco leaves Arraez alone---playing at 1B and keeps him in 2-hole between Buxton and Correa.

    3.  Find someone----maybe its Sanchez------ to move into cleanup slot as Polanco (despite his 2-3 performance today) is struggling at the plate.

    4.  Get Larnach regular playing time in LF and consistent ABs.  Gordon is best utilized in utility role.

    5.  Find someway to get Archer to go deeper in games.  His continued 4 inning starts--though mostly solid--continues to put too much pressure on bullpen.  Moreso, now with Stashak on IL and Cano getting lit up today.

     

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    1 hour ago, USAFChief said:

    I've said this before: there are no "low leverage" relievers in a modern pen. You're using 3, 4 maybe 5 relievers every night. Most professional baseball games are close, it's just the nature of the game. EVERYone in the pen is going to be in a position to win or lose games, and not just as an oddity. A manager can't just use 3 or 4 guys for 4 innings every close game. 

    I'm not a Rocco apologist, by any means, but he needs an inning of performance, minimum, when he puts a guy into a game in the middle innings, no matter the guy. And He doesn't have the luxury of having another guy already warmed and ready when a Cano starts an inning. Cano needs to perform.

    The problem really is not Rocco leaving Cano in too long. The problem is not providing Rocco with enough good options. Blame Cano. Or Falvine.

     

     

     

    Hey, Cano kept his team in the game. That's all you can ask of a reliever.

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    3 hours ago, rwilfong86 said:

    That one at-bat is really a justification for the robo umps.

     

    1 hour ago, HerbieFan said:

    OK.  I'll ask the question.  At what point do we start talking up Gilberto Celestino as a prospect?  Dude is hitting.....what, .350?

    Very fair and legit question.  Having seen Celestino very early last season with Wichita when he struggled mightily at the plate, I was shocked to see him promoted.  Although his struggles continued, it appears that Celestino made some serious adjustments--------focusing on contact-------in the offseason and in ST.  His power is very limited, but as he's shown all season-------he takes good ABs working the count and looks to shoot the ball to RF.  His athleticism and glove in the OF is MLB quality.  Making me a big believer.  Keep it going Gilberto!

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